Laura Linney Hits It Big With “The Big C”

It is the most unlikely premise -- a comedy about terminal cancer -- but Laura Linney and Showtime are laughing.

They are not alone. "The Big C" had a huge night Monday night, bringing in its biggest premiere night in eight years at the network. Linney's much-awaited premiere lived up to the hype, bringing in 1.583 million viewers, according to the network. That alone was impressive. But if you combine that with Showtime's effective marketing plan which allowed fans to watch the first show online for two weeks prior to the official kick-off -- and you have a hit.

To date more that 1.6 million have taken advantage of the online offer. That brings the cumulative views for the show to over 3 million. The show deals with Linney, a schoolteacher who finds she has terminal cancer. But rather than deal with exploratory therapies, she keeps the diagnosis secret and decides to change the many things wrong with her life.

The comedy comes from the prism in which she sees life -- there is not a lot of time for B.S. She is aided by an exciting cast which includes indie-fave Oliver Platt, who plays her immature husband. Further, the series marks the return of "Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe, in her first real appearance -- an extended guest role -- since doing the award rounds. Add Oscar-winning director Bill Condon in one of the last projects he'll helm before beginning work on the final two chapters of "Twilight," and you have some serious built in buzz.

The show has been paired with the already popular "Weeds," which began its sixth season on Monday night.

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